After seven seasons, Kawhi Leonard is no longer part of the Spurs family.
And as we know, season seven would end up being a rough one. A hip injury limited Leonard to just seven games. Despite it seeming like he could come back as the season neared its end, that never happened. Instead, Kawhi just kept resting up. He ultimately wanted out, and eventually got traded to the Toronto Raptors.
But in a rare move, now he’s breaking his silence — thanking both the Spurs and Gregg Popovich in the process. In a letter sent to the San Antonio Express-News, this is what he had to say:
“I have been going back and forth the last few weeks trying to figure out the right things to say, and it comes down to two simple words: THANK YOU! My family and I want to say THANK YOU to the entire Spurs organization and the people and fans of San Antonio. THANK YOU to every one of my teammates I’ve played with over my seven years in the NBA.“
Most notably, Leonard would single out head coach Gregg Popovich by name. Down the stretch last season, we didn’t know where the relationship stood between the two. At times it didn’t look like a relationship existed at all. But there’s a good chance Kawhi doesn’t turn into the player he is today with Pop’s guidance.
“THANK YOU Pop I’ll always be grateful for my growth under your guidance,” the letter continues.
Sure plenty of Spurs fans will still be upset with how things ended between the two sides, but that’s just the way it goes sometimes. Leonard made his choice and eventually, most fans will move on. In the meantime, he’s not going to forget where it all began.
“Through all the ups and downs — I’m glad there were many more ups! — I’ll never forget what we have shared and accomplished together,” the letter concludes.
That’s right, the 2013-14 title-winning team will live on forever. Fans will never forget that, and neither will Leonard.